but only because people are so kind and thoughtful. Oh and the weather was fine on Monday for the dancers which helped.
I can’t remember how many times people took the wheelchair from me to give me a break. (It must be said, a wheelchair is a big advantage when crowds gather in small areas. And whenever Barney went to the loo, I was in there like a shot – very comfy indeed. And the grandchildren loved pushing him : ) Memorably, last night, when we said goodbye to everyone and set off for home, with Barney on crutches to make wheelchair manouvering easier, suddenly we were surrounded by cheerful, merry people, carrying bags and bits of chair, pushing the chair, helping each other and giving lots of advice to all and sundry. The wheelchair and the bags and the detachable bits of chair and the dog (hang on – dog? What dog???), the dog basket (???) and very nearly, Barney himself, were lifted into the car and stowed very helpfully and we set off into the night with ears ringing from farewells and general merriment. The dog (???) immediately unpacked herself and leapt in among the sausages and raincoats – to be fair, she was more interested in getting closer to us than in food but we still had to stop and repack everything to accommodate her.
Oh yes. The dog. And lots of sausages and enough eggs to start a chicken farm. Well, what with one thing and another, the number of campers dwindled over the weekend and yesterday afternoon, Youngest and Mr Youngest had delivered their children to one of the other parents to take part in a different set of Jubilee celebrations, today. They then decided to take down all their camping gear and spend the night in a B&B in the village since they had no children to consider but the dog was a bit of a problem so we agreed to take her home with us and hopefully, any minute now, they’ll turn up to take her home with them.
Since there weren’t in fact five thousand to feed and the last two breakfasts had been completely abandoned for lack of mouths, there was a considerable sausage and egg surplus and somehow we seem to have ended up with that too. (Can’t help thinking that if we’d ignored the dog last night we could have ended up with a a single neat package comprising dog, eggs and sausages to be delivered this morning but I suppose it might have resulted in a disaster of epic proportions if the dog had eaten too much.) Oh well, it’ll be omelettes and egg curry this week.
The weekend was a success in spite of rain, regretted absences and the presence of an invited guest who didn’t properly appreciate the honour of being invited* and spent most of the first two days in various states of inebriation and intoxication and gave offence to a number of people who were kind enough to look after him and prevent him from getting beaten up when he was being a complete pain in the village. The rest of the weekend he was mostly absent – who knows where – he refused several offers to be taken to catch the next train home and certainly spent half of one night, having trashed a borrowed tent, sitting, sulking in the middle of the field in the pouring rain.
So it was all a bit disjointed. The general consensus was that it just doesn’t work, not having a full complement of campers. To be fair, the general confusion was compounded by the loss of the key to the shower and wash rooms early in the weekend.
It’s nice to be home though I do have two black and white furry attendants, both regarding me earnestly and both wondering when the canine one’s people will come and take her away. Oh but I’ve just realised, they won’t be setting off for another hour or so – although most of the tents were taken down yesterday, everyone who is still there will be saying goodbye and chatting in the pub till mid-afternoon. Possibly I will need to let the dog out again! Oh oops! the cat has decided to make the most of this opportunity to keep the dog in her place and has settled sneakily into her basket.
I have a lot of washing to do, having poured a good deal of authentic Thai green curry down several clothes during the transportation of it past a crowd of dancers and followers yesterday. Not their fault – I wasn’t watching what I was doing.
One of the brilliant things about the Bampton weekend is that the dancers and their entourages (there are three teams in the village) are invited to dance in many of the gardens of the older houses; beautiful old Cotswold stone cottages and manor houses with stunning gardens. Even if I was totally indifferent to Morris dancing (instead of being mildly interested) I’d still follow, just for the chance to see some of these places.
I say they’re invited – I sometimes wonder how this miracle of co-operation from the landowning classes is achieved. And what happens when a fine old manor house is sold to new people who may not be expecting to have to share their peaceful garden with half the village, and indeed a large number of strangers, once a year. I wonder if outgoing owners make a proviso in the deeds or just chuckle to themselves, knowing the newcomers are in for a May Surprise. However it’s done, it seems to work. At strategic houses with big gardens, the owners stand on their lawns and patios, in front of a table covered with glasses and jugs of refreshments for the Morris dancers and all seems to be cordial and pleasant. Every year I’m hugely impressed by this. Very much a privilege. (For them too, of course : )
Right, washing, tidying and sleep – not necessarily in that order. I may decide to wake up briefly and look for Venus finishing its (her?) transit across the sun which we may be able to see very early in the morning. Last chance in this lifetime so maybe worth getting up for.
Good night. I hope you enjoyed the Jubilee in one way or another.
*Actually I think he did appreciate the honour and stoked himself up, in the only way he knew, to handle it. It’s always deeply distressing to see a needy young person screwing up a chance to be befriended. You don’t have to behave in an exemplary manner to make friends in Bampton on Whit weekend, in fact you have to behave quite extraordinarily badly not to go home feeling hugged and warmed. He’s a poor lost boy. Dammit.
Anyway, we did a gig tonight (that would be last Saturday so by the time you read this it’l be last week) for a wedding. Apart from one or two slightly disorganised moments it went quite well but it is becoming apparent that the leaving of our old concertina player has acted as if somebody took the brakes off. So when we played a lovely tune called ‘Galopede’ , they did. Galopie jalopied.
Thing is, Jan and I always played it more as a Canterpede, kind of lolloping and easy – it’s nice to have a break from the fast and furious in between dances and it’s a pretty tune with a pastoral lilt. But Max and Barney just got their bits between their teeth and it went much like a downhill, runaway cart. So if Sara and the boys want to play it as a kind of heavy Centipede they can. I shall go and take a fag break. If they won’t behave, I shan’t play it again. So there! And pfffth! (Because I, of course, would have played it much slower and more thoughtfully. See!)
Right, abandoning my
daily weekly grouch, I’m a very chirpy bunny today. My lovely friend the gardener came and approved my planting plan as well as adding some suggestions like a Hamamelis (Witch hazel) and Winter Box to give lovely scent and evergreen leaves in Winter and Spring. Coo! Oh I am so excited!!!
Tomorrow I’m going to go and look round a garden centre and maybe order some plants to collect in time for her next visit. And also to buy a new sleeping bag. We have the Annual Morris Dancing Festival coming up any minute. What I mostly will celebrate is having a new sleeping bag and being warm in the tent at night. Oh and I’ll be getting sausages and bacon for hundreds of breakfasts in the camp site.
And here is the outlook for the next few hours. Um – unsettled I hope.
And for Christopher, since I failed on the salad front, some bread – fresh but maybe a little too settled.
See you all soon. Probably when I come home for the night to attend music group, enjoy a hot shower and play with the computer before heading back to the wonderfully pastoral meadows and charming, cotswold stone-walled village lanes, at a leisurely pace – perhaps arriving just in time to watch the campers soundly beaten at an Aunt Sally match with the Villager’s team. Or maybe to help gather up escaped tents and shelter in the local pubs from the weather.